When did they stop worshiping the Greek gods?
December 1, 2004 5:02 PM   Subscribe

AncientHistoryFilter: When did the worship of the gods of the ancient Greeks - Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, and so on - die out? (+)

It appears to me that no longer do men accomplish proper hecatombs to Zeus, nor do they singe the rich thigh pieces, edged with fat, in his name - nor do they scatter white barley to placate Poseidon the Earth-Shaker -

but I could be wrong?
posted by ikkyu2 to Religion & Philosophy (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Depends on whether you consider the Roman gods to be the same as the Greek ones. (I would.) If so, worshipping the Roman gods was finally banned by Emperor Theodosius in AD 391. It was probably on the fringe by then, with most of the populace converted to Christianity.
posted by smackfu at 5:25 PM on December 1, 2004


But might it not have survived in isolated communities anyway? There are still Zoroastrians, a religion I thought had died out long ago, and I remember hearing in a class about members of some very small ancient religious community attending a conference about their religion (wish I could remember the name of the group. Apparently they had to ritually transform the Boston river into a river in whatever part of the world they came from every night for the duration of the conference.)

(Probably) unrelated—what religion are the Pontian Greeks?
posted by kenko at 6:28 PM on December 1, 2004


Mithraism survived into the fifth century in various places around Yerp; this source says the Alps, and I feel that I have read that it survived at least that long in Dacia (today's Romania) as well.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:31 PM on December 1, 2004


I love this question. It always bothered me that they didn't talk about this after we studied Greek and Roman mythology in school.
posted by digifox at 8:10 PM on December 1, 2004


The worship of the Greek and Roman gods died out, but it is back.

For Roman Reconstructionism, see Nova Roma. For Hellenic, there are a lot of links at Temenos's place.
posted by QIbHom at 8:31 PM on December 1, 2004


I hope somebody with more knowledge about this subject than I will chime in.

It is more or less a fact that all Asian/African/Middle Eastern religions have been based in the same stories. Consider that the Epic of Gilgamesh has a flood story, or that Hercules is the son of God by mortal woman.

Christianity absorbed the beliefs the people already had. It has been obscured because people want to believe there was a historical Jesus, and because early Christians destroyed a lot of literature that would have raised uncomfortable questions.
posted by Chuckles at 1:05 AM on December 2, 2004


This article about the continuation of the ancient Olympic Games under Roman rule touches on this question. A professor Ulrich Sinn is quoted in the article as saying the people who lived in the Alpheios plain in the first half of the 5th century AD decided, by majority, to withdraw their confidence in Zeus and offer it to Christ...
posted by misteraitch at 2:21 AM on December 2, 2004


Response by poster: I guess I was hoping to hear about the Last Hecatomb.

That'd make a good story, I think.
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:56 AM on December 2, 2004


There are online communities of Zoroastrians, Pantheists, etc., at BeliefNet
posted by Doohickie at 7:05 AM on December 2, 2004


I knew they also had a board for Greek/Roman religion; here it is- Hellenismos and Religio Romana
posted by Doohickie at 7:07 AM on December 2, 2004


I thought it was when Pan died. Reading that wiki entry though, it says that it was Plutarch who reported that story and I thought it was Herodotus? Still, I've seen a lot of references using that story as the kind of baseline point of the end of the Greco-Roman gods era.

Good question - brings up all kinds of interesting thoughts!
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:48 PM on December 2, 2004


In 529 Byzantine/East Roman Emperor Justinian closed the schools of philosphy in Athens, which IIRC were pagan.

Also, didn't Heinrich Schliemann believe in/worship Zeus?
posted by turbodog at 2:06 PM on December 2, 2004


It is more or less a fact that all Asian/African/Middle Eastern religions have been based in the same stories. Consider that the Epic of Gilgamesh has a flood story, or that Hercules is the son of God by mortal woman.

Erm, actually, no, Chuckles. That is one theory, fairly discredited, put forth by some who misunderstood Dumezil, and took his ideas too far.
posted by QIbHom at 3:13 PM on December 2, 2004


QIbHom: You may have just outlined Dan Brown's next book...
posted by turbodog at 4:17 PM on December 2, 2004


Which Dan Brown, turbodog? And should I be looking for this book? I'm very much a dilettante in this field, but do try to keep up a bit.
posted by QIbHom at 6:49 PM on December 2, 2004


This Dan Brown, the one who parleys discredited religious theories into books that sell by the pallet at Wal Mart.
posted by turbodog at 1:51 PM on December 3, 2004


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